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What Was Your Worst Computer Accident?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the you-mean-besides-the-railgun dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 1542

Anonymous Writer writes "I learned years ago to backup regularly and never keep a drink on the same table as a laptop. I accidentally spilled a drink onto my laptop's keyboard where it drained into the laptop's innards, ruining the motherboard, CD-ROM, and hard drive. Thousands of dollars and all my data disappeared in a flash. Considering that there are even people out there that intentionally damage hardware, I was wondering what kind of disasters Slashdot readers have experienced."

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Worst computer accident? (5, Funny)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607247)

I'd have to say one of the worst computer accidents I had was ruining my Slashdot ID by attempting a first post.

Honest (5, Funny)

soloport (312487) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607349)

Purchasing Windows 98.

After more than 15 years in Unix-land, why did I make *that* move? What was I thinking? I'm so glad that it was about that time that Linux made Unix accessible "for the rest of us".

Haha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607249)

Slrpr!

mkswap (5, Interesting)

seann (307009) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607253)

mkswap /dev/hda1
instead of swapon /dev/hda3

hda1 = data
mda3 = swap

On a similar note... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607305)

Installing a new kernel, many years ago (about the same time as I stopped using Windows 95)...

gordonjcp@elric:~$ su
Password:
root@elric:/home/gordonjcp# lilo -b /dev/hda1
Added Linux-2.0.34 *
Added old
root@elric:/home/gordonjcp#
... and then I wondered why my Windows partition wouldn't work any more.

Re:mkswap (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607376)

mke2fs /dev/hda1
instead of
mke2fs /dev/hdb1
D'oh!

Re:mkswap (4, Interesting)

lubricated (49106) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607427)

I've done this fortunetly ext3fs was buf enough that with a simple fsck to an alternate superblock I was able to get 100% recovery with no data loss. All I had to do was RTFM.

Worst Accident (0, Troll)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607256)

Buying a Windows machine instead of a Macintosh?

(Would this be considered a generic /. post?)

Mouse Pee (5, Interesting)

AngusOg (750443) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607259)

December 23, 1998 - Before leaving work I tried connect to my home web server to transfer some files. The connection timed out. That seemed odd. I was just on a couple of hours ago.

Got home. The screen's frozen on the computer. Ctl-alt-Del...Nothing. Reboot... the monitor doesn't even come on! Ok, take the cover off, get out the canned air, blow dust off the components, see if anything is loose.

Holy shit! I see a mouse wandering around inside the computer!

I think about getting something to kill it, but don't want to mess up the hardware, so I shake it out. It drops out and neither the cat or dog see it as it scurries under the couch.

After about 30 minutes of sleuthing I find that the Ethernet card is blown. It's got a nice little burn mark on one of the chips where the mouse apparently PEED on it!

Well a quick trip down to Compu USA and everything is back in order. The cat's still sleeping on the couch -- but it's only a matter of time before one of us frag's that mouse!

Lesson: Don't leave any of your slot covers off the back of your computer.

Re:Mouse Pee (5, Funny)

jZnat (793348) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607284)

I'd also recommend that you don't feed your computer. Computers are _inatimate_objects_, not to be confused with pets that need food and water. I know you might think you'll get an extra MHz or 2, but that food is _really_ unneccessary...

Obvious (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607260)

I installed Linux

Re:Obvious (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607434)

Another one of my big computer mistakes involved an attempt to install Redhat (6 or 7.3 I think, it was Nov 1999). I managed to fatfinger Disk Druid and reformat hda1. Good thing most partition tools only reformat the partition destined for "/" by default now. I lost a few files of sentimental value because of it.

Two years later, I managed to do the same thing with Windows XP (chose a quick convert to NTFS instead of looking into which option would keep my files)

HD Bomb (2, Interesting)

0x54524F4C4C (712971) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607263)


I've mistankely swapped the +5V and +12V inputs in a HD and it exploded big time.. The whole circuit board got into fire.

Re:HD Bomb (1)

VicStar (792615) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607324)

Something along that line happened to me my dads friend from england came in and he was just getting into pcs and I was building one so he wanted to help, I let him put the Athlon in everything was going good till he forgot America and Europe or not on the same voltage ouch I had it set on 110 but he swithced it thinking it was wrong :( poor system

Re:HD Bomb (1)

Student_Tech (66719) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607406)

Same thing here, except I just burned them out, no fire. Although I did get one drive to run when plugged in that way. (Did this about 6 years ago with equipment which was early 90's, late 80's era I think)

Bad mistake (2, Funny)

nother_nix_hacker (596961) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607268)

Once installed windows 98 .... ME .... nooooooo!!!

I bought a Dell. (5, Funny)

ArsSineArtificio (150115) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607269)

Er, that's it, really.

Using a CPU probe. (2, Funny)

jZnat (793348) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607270)

I tried using a CPU temperature probe to monitor my overclocking, but due to bad worksmanship (AKA pure shittiness), it fried my $400 P4C 3.0 GHz processor. ;_;

Re:Using a CPU probe. (1)

Phosphor3k (542747) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607352)

Translation: instead of following the directions and mounting the probe somewhere on the heatsink relatively close to the core, I put it between the core and heatsink causing most of the heat not to transfer away from the cpu causeing it to fry.

Also, dumbass, there is nary a P4 motherboard I have seen that does not have the capability to accurately measure cpu temperature. they already have that shit built in.

..now for the bashing... (0, Troll)

generic-nerd (793283) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607273)

... when will someone bash ms on this subject... we are waiting to see something like this--- "...i installed ms os and couldnt get it to work proper (i never RTFM with ms stuff, I only RTFM if it is linux related)"

wrong dir (1)

stankyho (172180) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607280)

I did a rm -rf ./* while in the wrong directory. I can't say that I've ever damaged any hardware though.

Re:wrong dir (3, Funny)

stankyho (172180) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607314)

Oh, I guess I have punched a couple keyboards when I was pissed off. I've broke about 4 keyboards that way. I've also punched a few monitors but never damaged those. Apparently a CRT is stronger than a car windshield.

Re:wrong dir (3, Interesting)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607365)

My phone rang at 3am.

Boss: Sorry to wake you, but where's the source code?

Me: Uh, what, oh, /osrc, where else would it be?

Boss: I'm in /osrc and I don't see it.

Me: Do an ls and tell me what you see.

Boss: Dot and dot-dot.

--------------------
I had removed a mount point (/backup) for a failed disk where we mirrored the code. The dumb backup script did something like this:

cd /osrc
size=`du -s .`
cd /backup
rm -rf this that the_other_thing

Fortunately, the tape backup had finished before the stuff was deleted.

Re:wrong dir (1)

madmath789 (793936) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607407)

Did a similar thing - only much worse ... Had a dual-boot Slackware/M$ machine and installed RedHat on a spare partition (to see if RH was any good) - decided to get rid of RH, so went to root of the RH filesystem and did "rm -r *" .... and THEN realised that the other filesystems were mounted under the RedHat one ... lost all 3 OSes with one command!!!

rm -rf * (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607281)

Worst accident for me would be running rm -rf * from / instead of putting in the folder name. As root. Hit ctl-c after seeing some errors in /dev/ pop up. Fellon the floor, and about 5 minutes later got back to up to chekc out the damage. Luckily it had stoppe djust before /home/.

Oh and to make things better, it was my High Schools email server, 3 days before school was to begin, and people were just starting to trust the server and begin to use it.. Needless to say we had to repor tot the school that we had experienced a "hard drive crash" hehe

Cookies in the psu (4, Funny)

unwiredmatt (780760) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607288)

Hiding cookies in my power suppy never turned out good...

Re:Cookies in the psu (2, Funny)

jm92956n (758515) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607321)

Hiding cookies in my power suppy never turned out good...

Power supply: an E-Z Bake oven for /.'ers?

Re:Cookies in the psu (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607328)

In Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Internet Options > Security, and make sure there is a check mark next to "Block power supply cookies". I don't know why MS didn't turn that on by default.

The Worst. (5, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607289)

Well It was a pretty productive week at work and I was at full force with no time to backup. After finishing about 2000 line HTML and Javascript file I went to the command shell I figured Ill just delete some data files that my tests made. I did an
rm -rf *
I hit enter. Then I Went D'oh! It took me 3 hours of searching threw the Browser Cache to get them back up (then I had to reformat them for my program) I was damn lucky that the browsers kept a cache.

Re:The Worst. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607367)

Heh. I once removed the wrong directory. I can't remember whether I was in Linux or Windows. Since I don't remember what I lost, it couldn't have been that important.

Re:The Worst. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607379)

I just tried the "rm -rf" thing and I get:
"Bad command or file name"
You must have some weird-ass operating system

Re:The Worst. (5, Funny)

bwhaley (410361) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607414)

I had a similar problem once. Up until about 2am finishing a TCP/IP simulator program in C for my networking class. Had the project basically finished, was just cleaning up, and did "rm -rf core *" instead of "rm -rf core*" (note the space!). I was using a box with ext3 instead of ext2 - doh! Can't just unmount the filesystem and go find your file with ext3. I had to vi the entire filesystem (~12GB) and patch together pieces of the file. The program never did work right again and I ended up with a B on the assignment (only B ever in that class :(). Needless to say, I learned my lesson and now use Snapshots [mikerubel.org] .

In a somewhat unrelated (and more painful) story, using my vast intellect I once attempted to replace a PCI card (of some sort) in a running computer and shocked the shit out of myself. Twice . In less than ten minutes. Apparently I didn't learn that lesson.

- Ben

Re:The Worst. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607416)

Did once a del *.* in an Windows 3.11 command promt in the c:\windows directory

Well umm (5, Funny)

MrP- (45616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607290)

This isn't really an accident like spilling something, this is a programming accident.

Several years ago, I was running Win95 I think.. I have this friend who I wanted to scare so I wrote a little app in VB that when he ran would pretend it was erasing his hard drive. It worked good but there was no disk activity so you could tell it was fake. So I decided I'd try opening the files I was listing as being deleted. I tested my code on 1 file, it worked. So I ran the whole program (which would cycle through each directory on the drive, but not sub-directories). When it ended, I was happy because it worked, I had lots of disk activity.

Then I tried opening a program and it said it was corrupt, then I noticed lots of files were corrupt, then I noticed EVERY file on the main directories of my drive were 0 bytes.. That's when I realized my disk activity code was opening every file to have data written to it (the output function in vb i think)..

So basically every file on the root of my drive and in all the main directries (not sub-directories though) were erased.

That sucked.

Re:Well umm (1)

Spetiam (671180) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607382)

That sucked.

It must've been karma. ;)

Re:Well umm (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607401)

Pretty bad to succumb to your own virus.

spilling acetone on a sony vaio laptop (5, Interesting)

emmastrange (768051) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607294)

$100 to replace the *melted* keyboard. note to self: never remove nail polish near a computer.

Re:spilling acetone on a sony vaio laptop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607310)

this is why girls shouldnt be allowed to use computers

now lets fuck

Re:spilling acetone on a sony vaio laptop (1)

KevinKnSC (744603) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607360)

And people think that geeks have poor social skills.

Dropped my Muvo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607295)

First I wanted a cheap Microdrive for my digicam, but then I fell in love with my new Creative Muvo2. But I dropped it on the floor from 1m height. The drive is broken but I hope for a repair. I wonder how many they get back like this?

Cheeto mayhem. (1)

Admael (750119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607296)

I'm generally pretty careful with the machine... but I have been known to ruin a keyboard or two (or a mouse or two...) with cheeto crumbs. And a pair of pants, but that's not really hardware.

Re:Cheeto mayhem. (0, Offtopic)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607331)

CHEETO! [penny-arcade.com] Haven't seen you in AGES! Where ya been, bro?

Installing A Crap Operating System (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607297)

Installing Linux. I'll never do that again that's for sure.

PQMagic (1)

dizzy tunez (89390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607299)

My worst: Thinking PQMagic knew what ext2/ext3 was, and how to handle it.
I lost everything on that disk. Every-fucking-thing.

Note to self: It does not know how to handle ext2/ext3. Nor UFS.

Re:PQMagic (1)

rcb1974 (654474) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607428)

I experienced the same thing. I set PQmagic7 to resize an ext3 volume. During the process it failed, and the partition went bye bye. argghhh!

Not explaining OS X better (1)

tommasz (36259) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607300)

When I switched my G3 to OS X from OS9, I told my kids that in OS X they each have their own logins and their files weren't visible to each other. What I didn't mention was that the protections didn't apply to anthing on the older OS9 disk. My oldest thought that meant she could delete files that appeared in her login and they would only disappear from her view...

I was able to retrieve some of the files but I was handicapped by not knowing they were deleted until after I had moved things around. I lost some ProTools files that I've never been able to recover, and all I have is a single CD I burned from them.

watercooling (1)

insideyourhalo (591645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607302)

Worst computing mistake was watercooling. The pump connections broke and shorted out EVERYTHING.

chown -R root:root .* (5, Interesting)

robolemon (575275) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607303)

Not exactly the worst thing to do, except that it was to someone else's system.

I did a

chown -R root:root .*
on my friend's machine, in order to change permission on all of the hidden directories and files. I didn't think that ".." and all of its subdirectories would also be traversed, which coupled with the "-R" changed ownership on every file on her computer.

Power Supply = Fire Alarm (1)

Mr. Certainly (762748) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607307)

Well, my PurePower-CrapPower PSU decieded to have the fan die just 2 weeks after it's warranty was up. Nasty smoke from burnt innards. Fire alarm. Wonderful experience.

IDE (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607308)

I was moving an old IDE drive from one system to another because the motherboard it was in had died. Well, pulling the IDE cable off took a few of the Pins with it. Did I mention this hard drie had payroll information on it for a small company? Luckily I had a friend who could solder at the fine level of detail needed, and he managed to re-attach the pins for me.

Personal Injury via Rack Mount Case Cover (2, Interesting)

Limecron (206141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607311)

I had once propped the cover to a 1U rack-mount server against a wall while I was working on it. (The cover is essentially a 19" x 30" x 1/8" thick piece of steel.)

I turned around, bumped the cover with my foot, which proceeded to fall on my shin. Unfortunately, I was wearing shorts and the corner of the cover gouged a 2.5" x .25" chunk out of my leg.

Though, it's a really cool looking scar; I won't tell anyone how I got it. ;)

Way Back in 1970 (5, Funny)

Lucas Membrane (524640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607315)

I was working a summer job programming a departmental minicomputer in a large (NYSE) company. As I was tidying up my work on my last day, returning to college the following day, I started a re-org on the hard drive. A few seconds later, it occurred to me that I wanted to do something else, so, I hit the reset switch on the machine's front panel.

Hitting reset in the middle of a re-org is a bad idea. Department lost everything, except that it didn't really lose everything. Everything was still in files, but the files were scrambled. They printed out the contents of each file, figured out what file each fragment belonged to, and typed it all back in.

Fortunately, this hard disk was only a megabyte or so.

My worst. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607316)

On an HPUX box:

[working away in my home directory, I notice a bunch of files are owned by another user]:

su -
password: xxxxxxxx
chown myUid.myGrp *
chmod 700 *
exit

Spot the mistake ;-) Instantly numerous processes die, 120 users are booted off the box, and I panic ;-)) Luckily nobody found out - hence the anonymous post here... I hope!

I did something similar.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607318)

Once, during the 70s, I accidentally spilled Pepsi on the control panel at the Two Mile Island nuclear power plant, and Jimmy Carter came to fix it, and he was irradiated and grew to over 50 feet...

Boy that was embarassing.

A solution to almost all liquid problems (3, Insightful)

Rhodnius (749829) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607329)

I'm fairly clumsy, and in my computing career, I've spilled drinks on a half-dozen keyboards and at least two motherboards. But all of them worked just fine after drying out.

The secret? Drink only water. I can do my computing without dependency on mind-altering drugs like caffeine and alcohol. And why pay for soda when water's free and doesn't expand your waistline or rot your teeth?

Re:A solution to almost all liquid problems (4, Insightful)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607429)

And why pay for soda when water's free and doesn't expand your waistline or rot your teeth?

Because it tastes good?

2 hard drives, one power supply (4, Informative)

flinxmeister (601654) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607330)

I learned the hard way that backing your data up to another hard drive does no good when the power supply freaks out and fries *everything*...including BOTH hard drives.

Luckily, I had bought matching drives for use in another computer (a total of 4 HDs). By removing the controllers from the good drives and carfully placing them on the fried drives, I was able to get everything back.

Word to the wise, backup and keep off box and off site!

About two years ago... (2, Funny)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607332)

Mean to type "dd if=floppy.img of=/dev/fd0 bs=1024 count=300"

Ended up typing "dd if=floppy.img of=/dev/hda bs=1024 count=300"

Needless to say the system continued to operate for a week or so, although here were random errors everywhere. Saved most all my data though.

After that day I always made sure /dev/fd0 is owned by my user, and I never dd as root anymore :P

My Worst Accident was when I.. (1)

Sockpuppetofdoom (678616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607334)

Purchased a Dell.

I'm a 9800 Pro Killer (1)

yani (50270) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607337)

This week I lost a 9800 pro, I just got a waterblock for it and my water system, and removed the stock fan/heatsink and attatched the waterblock. I then re-filled the water system not realizing how much water I had lost when emptying. On re-filling I started and tested using ATI tool where I noticed I was getting worse perfoemance, I quickly turned off the computer but it was too late - there was no water circulation since the pump wasn't fully immersed.

At first jsut the DVI port didn't work and I used the VGA port with no problems, but the next day the card would crash on entering Windows. I had some Tweakmonster ramsinks attatched to the ram so I coudln't return it to ATI for service unless they came off. I had diluted the AS thermal epoxy but apparenlty not enough, after using the freezer trick to make the epoxy brittle 3/8 of the heatsinks came off no porblem, but the 4rth came off with the memory chip :'(.

Needless to say I jsut have to buy a new video card now, but the whoel episode was highly frustrating and unlike things that usually happen to me. I was doing this all after not so much sleep, but still I shoudl hve been more cautious!

Despite all this, the worst incident to ever happen to me was a few years back when lightning surged thorugh my cable line, frying my cable modem, nic and motherboard. I was not happpy and the cable company denied all while replacing my modem for free). I learnt then a UPS is a sound investment.

Re:I'm a 9800 Pro Killer (2, Funny)

yani (50270) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607358)

...and excuse my bad typing, I'm on my Mac G3 at the moment and I can't type for my life on this keyboard :P

Re:I'm a 9800 Pro Killer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607415)

Maybe if you use hardware the way it was meant to be used -- i.e. not immersed in water or overclocked all to hell -- this wouldn't happen!

But no, you're a fat, greasy nerd who thinks that framerate in Quake3 is directly proportional to your penis size. Except your penis is lost in your rolls of fat, and you'll never get laid.

Not mine but.. (4, Funny)

kunudo (773239) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607338)

A friend of mine stuck a screwdriver in his computers power supply because the fan was "making too much noise"... He used it with the screwdriver blocking the fan for maybe 6 months before the entire thing blew up and fried every single component in the computer...

Then he asked if I could fix it...

BBS Modems in the 90s (1)

Ba3r (720309) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607340)

During the 90s i went through 4 modems before it occured to me to get a surge protecter on my phone line... summer T-storms in NY-state coupled with archaic landlines don't make for optimal BBS'n conditions.

Involving a friend of course... (2, Funny)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607342)

...I had just bought my brand new 1.6GB hard disk drive, and we were in the process of consolidating data off of my 800MB and 400MB drives onto the new one. Well, it was late after we got all of the equipment working and got the first partition copied (the 800 was two 400MB partitions), and I let my friend copy the others.

Well, he formatted the partitions on the new drive as he went, and he once somehow forgot to copy the data on one of the partitions after creating the new one on the 1.6GB drive. I ended up losing all of my porn (Very Very Important to a fifteen year old) and most of the games that I'd downloaded off of the local BBSes, like Doom shareware. So, I was kind of pissed off. It sucked a lot at the time.

I once had another weird one where the hard disk drive that the OS was installed on for my RAID box (2GB SCSI drive for OS, four 120GB IDE drives for RAID) blew a controller chip. It stank up the computer room something fierce! Anyway, I had a second drive of the same type and model, so I just swapped controller boards and it came back. Still running that way too, about two years later.

deleting 3/4 of the companies clients database. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607344)

Anonymous post, cause no one ever found out.

So my company has a database which records all information about all of our clients, and I maintain it. Contact, Billing, and contract information among other things.

I accidently deleted 3/4 of the tables in the database while migrating from one DB platform to another. for about 15 minutes, I was totally screwed. Then I remembered I exported the database into Access 3 days prior, and restored from that.

Danger averted, and no one ever knew..... but those 15 minutes were definately the most nervewracking moments Ive ever experienced, and taught me some good lessons about mission critical backups, and precautions to take.

Costly iBook Mistake (2, Funny)

mac os ken (732050) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607345)

I buy and sell used iBooks for a small profit. I was placing a new keyboard into a used G3 iBook 600. The connector on the motherboard is a flimsy piece of brown plastic that sticks out. Well I place the thread into place and the plastic snaps when I push it in. I was absolutely LIVID that such an inexpensive repair that I could do myself would now end up costing me a ridiculous amount of money. It irks me to this day. I can't use my personal iBook without thinking about it.

Being robbed (5, Insightful)

Ugodown (665450) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607346)

The worst 'accident' I had was letting people know I had a kick ass computer. There is absolutely no data recovery when you computer is stolen and it's not physically there anymore.

saved twice by backup, lucky me! (1)

SNACKeR (6694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607350)

Once as a network admin I mirrored the data drive on a NetWare server to a new blank disk for redundancy. Except I mirrored them backwards, which NetWare had no problem letting you do. I realized my mistake, and fortunately the changes (not undo-able, I forget why) did not take effect until a reboot, which meant that I had to make a backup of the data NOW while it was still available. I spent the rest of night restoring the data to the new blank drives, and noone was the wiser in morning. Well, except me.

The other time, I came home from vacation to find my main desktop drive seized. Because I do nightly file copies to a spare drive on the same machine, I lost no data.

So, whether planned or unplanned, backups are good!

Duck poop fried my keyboard... (5, Funny)

RoTNCoRE (744518) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607351)

In highschool I did a project on animal behaviour for a biology class, which entailed imprinting a duckling on myself, and carrying it around everywhere for the duration of the project, and observing. I was working on my computer, with the duckling on the desk in front of me, and it started doing its 'I'm gonna dump walk'...stepping backwards, wings outstreched and ass up. Next thing I knew, the keyboard was hit around the F keys with a wet one, and it gave out almost instantly. I wonder if anyone else has lost hardware to a duck?

Some things are not hot-swappable. (1)

genericacct (692294) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607354)

I was working on EISA cards (remember those?) in a fancy dual-processor server, and was having trouble with the one ISA card it needed. I pulled one of the expensive network cards, and then turned back and realized the power switch was still on. Oops.

At least the manufacturer was good about replacing the motherboard under warranty, which I had fried, and it was a new server so it didn't need to go back into production right away.

Cut off the power to a fan (1)

TheSimkin (639033) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607356)

Using metal pliars.. While the computer was on. Actually, no permament damage was done, it just scared the heck outa me. The workstation powered down immediately and would not power on for a few minutes. I assume something over heated and saved the day. Next time i'll cut them one wire at a time :)

Two bad accidents, both involving power (1)

Artful Codger (245847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607363)

In 1988, we lived in a small rented house with old, groundless AC wiring. While trying to interface the once popular Teletype unit to an XT, somehow there was a difference in the ground potential of the XT and the Teletype, and the XT was seriously fried - burnt-traces, blown-up ICs, the works. There wasn't much data to lose, so the real loss was the hardware.

Fast forward to 2000 - a 2 year-old Celeron 300 box with a no-name case and PSU. All by itself, the powersupply went nova, apparently leading to an overvoltage which, similar to 1988, fried most of the electronics, including drive electronics, a $500 multichannel soundcard, and just about everything else.

Thank god for ebay - i was able to find the exact same harddrive, swap it's good electronics into my blown drive, and get all my data back.

Needless to say I only buy top-line PSU's now.

Mine... (1)

deuteron (13274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607364)

was submitting this [slashdot.org] and getting publically flogged for it! (Since the comments seem to be gone, turns out it was a loose IDE cable. :P)

Not me, but one of my friends... (1)

OwP_Fabricated (717195) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607368)

...managed to ruin a perfectly good mobo, graphics card, ram, and soundcard instantly.

He didn't using mounting screws. He carefully installed all of his hardware, and leaned the damn motherboard in the case. And then RMA'd all of the stuff, and DID IT AGAIN. He was convinced he was getting dud hardware until me and one of my other friends gave him a generous beating with the cluestick after he asked us for our help.

*Spark!* (2, Interesting)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607369)

This was before I had any means of making money to get my own computer.

My family's computer was extremely slow, and was a Packard Bell, which makes it even worse (it was a Pentium 133 in 1999). Ok, my brother's new computer parts he had finally ordered in the mail had finally arrived. After many years of using a computer way out of date, I finally got my brother's slightly out of date, but playable Pentium 200. I could finally play Half-Life, Unreal, and Quake 2 (at greater than 13 fps).

This thing was in a 386 AT case that housed two generations of motherboards before it (486-133 and 386DX-40) and had a power supply that was equally old.

After fiddling around the open case to fix a RAM issue, I powered it on and SPARK! One of the yellow wires on a 12V plug coming from the power supply had come loose and shorted right on the motherboard and burned a big hole through a chip.

Not much humility like having to move all your crap back to the old piece of crap computer (3dfx card, RAM, hard drive) after getting your hopes up to finally play those newfangled games you have been waiting to play for months/years.

My Top 10 (1)

Devil's BSD (562630) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607370)

10. breaking off the contact part of a PCI card while trying to extract it. The PCI slot is still unusable to this day. Not that I use that old computer anymore though. 9. Sitting on a brand new Pentium 4 accidentally, bending all the pins 8. Not getting a UPS/surge strip/voltage regulator. Over time, the voltage irregularities caused my power supply to literally catch on fire. 7. Installing Windows. 6. Falling for the "hey, try rm -rf /" trick 5. Dropping a monitor down the stairs 4. Taking over an NT domain accidentally by running samba as a PDC 3. Leaving a P4 laptop running inside a closed, insulated laptop case. Literally everything overheated. 2. "Accidentally" adding DELTREE C:\ /Y to a Windows NT Logon script. Ah, the good old senior pranks. 1. Posting this list on Slashdot.

A few years back (2, Funny)

colonslashslash (762464) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607371)

I had been saving up for a while to get a Voodoo 4MB graphics chipset for my P166, I remember spending about 2 weeks trying to get hold of one here when they were first released, but it seemed like all the stores had sold out.

Finally, I got a call from one of the local computer hardware stores informing me they had just receieved a shipment of these beasts, so I ran down there like a little child at christmas and forked over the cash.

I got home and opened up the packaging, then pryed open my box, I unscrewed one of the PCI blanking plates and tried to remove it, but it was bent and didn't want to budge, so I pulled as hard as I could, it came off and I went flying backwards right into the table beside me, I had a full pint glass of coke on the table which spilt into the case (and also over my keyboard).

Turns out that coke isn't only bad for teeth, its not good for x86 hardware either. Needless to say, I never did get around to playing GLQuake that day :(

Rookie Linux mistake (5, Funny)

eatenn (572604) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607377)

About 7 years ago I decided to give Linux a try. I ordered a bunch of distro's off the web and my irc friends urged me to install Debian.

Debian, especially back then, was not a good newby distro. After installing it, I was left at a blank terminal thinking, "Okay, now what."

In my frustration trying to set up X, I decided "to hell with it, I'll install Slackware," and I hastily did a "rm -rf /"

As I listened to my noisy hard drive chug a long, I remembered that I had mounted my Windows partition.

"But surely Linux will know I only wanted to rm the Linux part."

Yeah, I was wrong.

Tossing a computer out a second story window... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607378)

over a concrete driveway.

Okay, so it didn't happen to me, but to a customer at a computer store I worked at in the late '90's. He caught his wife chatting online with some strange man and picked up the computer and threw it through the *closed* window. It brought a whole new meaning to computer crash.

When I saw it, it looked like someone hit it with a sledgehammer then dragged it down the highway a bit. He brought it in to see if anything was salvageable, but other than the CPU (which appeared to have all its pins) it looked to be a total loss.

It may have been cheaper to have tossed the wife out the window and left the computer on the desk, but who knows? :)

When I was a bit younger working with my parents.. (1)

Fluidic Binary (554336) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607381)

When I was maybe 7 years old my parents put a board into one of our computers the wrong way. The smoking mess was left pretty much useless. Since then I have learned from their mistake and avoided such errors.

Unless you count the time I spell a soda into my keyboard, but that is a pretty lame case.

I'm sure I will do something very stupid one of these days (its just a matter of probabilities), its just that I can't afford to make such mistakes right now (no cash to replace things) so I am very careful.

My poor 486 (4, Funny)

MadCamel (193459) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607384)

Way back in the day, when a 486dx/66 was *hot stuff*, I had an interesting day. I started by inserting the CPU backwards. It emitted a large puff of smoke and a horrible squealing sound. Surprizingly enough after correcting the CPU orientation it still worked. Later in the day while fiddling with it, I bumped the tower and it fell out the second story window on to a concrete pad. Since it was not screwed together properly, it took the fall rather well, the only casualty being the case (Bent to hell), and the massive-for-the-day 2gig harddrive, which still worked, albeit at less-than-floppy speeds with a horrible click-clack sound every 10 seconds. Recovering my data took 10 days, with the computer living in a cardboard box. I had this bad habit of heating cans of spaghetti-O's on the CPU, but nothing ever came of it (thankfully).

master copy (1)

fantastic (398233) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607385)

Being told by my boss to make a tape copy of the only master of an old OS version they had on my first week.

OK you guessed it I wiped the master with the wrong cpio option.

fdisk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607386)

Installing an OS on the real HDD, not in the VMs one...

(Initialize all HDD? Yesss)

SCO (1)

thedogcow (694111) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607388)

My worst computer experience had a price / cost me $699.

Dropping an open laptop onto a concrete floor (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607389)

Cracked Screen? Of course.
Busted Hard Drive: check.
Broken motherboard: probably.
Cracked Case: That's the least of your worries.
I think the battery will survive, but if not, there's caustic/acidic materials to deal with.

SQL "Delete" Statement, without a "Where" clause (4, Interesting)

John_Booty (149925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607392)

Back in my first year or two of programming full-time, I deleted some LIVE data belonging to a customer, because I forgot the "where" clause. For those not familiar with SQL, you'd say the following to delete only certain rows from a table:

"Delete From SomeTable Where SomeTable.SomeField > 500"

However, if simply you type:

"Delete From SomeTable"

...that will delete all rows from that table. (Actually, I did type the WHERE clause, but I had only part of the statement highlighted, so that's the only part that got executed.)

What a nightmare. Obviously it was my own stupid fault, but to make matters worse, the IT dudes weren't performing nightly backups as they'd promised, compounding the problem. Recovery of the table from the transaction logs proved impossible for several reasons. It cost our company a few thousand dollars to re-conduct our client's survey and we had to endure a lot of screaming.

I consider myself lucky to have done this early in my career, on a small job that amounted to thousands of dollars instead of 5-, 6-, or 7-figure dollar amounts. I figure it's the sort of thing that everybody does once and never does again. ...Right? :P I've continued to work with SQL databases for the past 7 years, and I literally NEVER execute a DELETE statement without thinking about that fateful day. Never ever, even if it's data that doesn't matter.

Soldering the chips of a Powerbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607394)

I have lost my portable Mac OS X machine when I tried to fix the power connector which seemed to be loose. Using a big soldering iron I overheated the chips next to connector, killing the machine. Replacing this board would cost 300 bucks or more.

Sad part: It was actually the plug from the power cord that was broken and which could be replaced with a 25 ct. headphone plug.

Anonymous yes,
Coward I think not!

For me it is... (2, Funny)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607395)

Buying motherboards made by PC-Chips. I learned that you can easily crash Linux systems if you have hardware that is crappy enough.

Tea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607398)

I burnt up a laptop power supply. Along with a big chunk of its motherboard. Just to be annoying, the battery then exploded.

I once savagly attacked a 286 laptop screen with a hammer to get the polarising filter. Couldn't remove that, but two very nice fresnel thingies. Some form of strange lens, I think related to the backlight. I also learnt a lot about LCD construction.

And the worst thing to spill on a laptop is tea. You can turn off the power immediately and dry it for weeks, but the sugar will always be there. It slowly absorbes atmosperic water forming a sludge that crawls over the board, shorting everything in its path.

Wash the spill off (1)

RainbowSix (105550) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607399)

I accidentally spilled a drink onto my laptop's keyboard where it drained into the laptop's innards, ruining the motherboard, CD-ROM, and hard drive.

I spilled Sprite on my Thinkpad X30, down the left side of the keyboard. It stopped booting, and I started to panic but then I washed it in the sink and it worked again (completely true.. washes the crap off of the motherboard. AFIK this works for mechanical things too. You should use distilled water so that minerals don't get deposited)

picture [cmu.edu]

I saw someone fry $35,000 worth of silicon .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9607404)

wafers once. They were inside an ion implanter and he had the settings wrong.

Personally, I blew up 2 monitors with incorrect X timings, one after another. Took them both back to the store for replacements. Haha.

-- ac at home

My latest near miss... (1)

TwoFarWest (533071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607408)

Just before I sat down to read this... I moved my cloths from the washer to the dryer. In the wash I found my misplaced USB memory dongle. Nothing to lose so I plugged it in and could read it. Doubt it would have survived the dryer with the polyester, but you never know. I will not be trying the dryer experiment. Never spill when you can immerse

CPU (1)

ahsm57 (793826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607417)

I once was fooling around with my AMD K-6 and forgot to put the fan back on the heatsink.

Lots ov viruses (1)

obli (650741) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607421)

I was 'babysitting' my friends computer when he was on vacation, I was basically just supposed to shape it up a little. Eveything went fine until I connected it to my network and it started a virus epidemic...

My worst case.... (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607424)

It was a harddrive failure with data corruption beyond any repair. Lost near 18 GB of data. Now I have the learned the meaning of the word BACKUP.

When I was in college and Linux was young... (5, Funny)

Fished (574624) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607425)

When I was in college, I would (once or twice a semester) drink ... to excess. This was in the early 90's, I had a Linux box, and I was pretty stinking impressed with myself for having 'root' on it. One night, stinking drunk and stinking impressed, I created a directory called '*' in the root directory of my hard drive. I was utterly impressed with my own wisdom and capabilities and /power/, being young, drunk, and root.

The next morning, I wake up, somewhat hung over, and decide that this directoy was a /stupid/ idea. So, I execute the obvious command:

rm -rf /*
I then wander off in search of some tylenol, and come back with two term papers irretrievably lost.

The obvious moral of this story is, "don't root under the influence." (From my more mature perspective, I would like to suggest that drinking less might also be a good plan.)

waterworks (2, Interesting)

Versa (252878) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607426)

When I replaced my fridge and shut off my old fridge I forgot to defrost the the old fridge. When I woke up the next day I went to play a video on my HTPC, unfortunately it showed that the network cable was disconnected. I looked at the network cable saw it was still connected and followed it down to my server room in the basement. When I got there I listened and heard... silence. Not a good thing. All of the lights were also off on the switchs and computers. And they were all wet. WET! All three servers, cable modem, two switches, and UPS system, all dripping wet.

Needless to say I freaked. But, after drying everything off with fans and towels the only permanent damage appeared to by my UPS System. So I plugged everything back in and started it up, only My software RAID5 array was showing a missing disk, so I fiddled aroudn with it for a while and finally shut down and opened the case , only to find that one of hte hds was sitting face down in a pool of water ... whilke I had had it running. but, once again, dried off the inside of the case this time and started her back up. And miraculously , the hard drive worked. So amazingly, the only thing Damaged was my UPS system.

gah (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607431)

I threw out a perfectly good hard drive (20 GB, 7200 RPM) when I couldn't get the damned thing to work.

I found out the next day that the red stripe on the IDE cable has to be *towards* the power connector. Dammit.

Couple of them. (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9607432)

I was admining an old SCO server years ago (i feel dirty) and the home directory was a shared directory /home/dispatch for a couple hundred users.

I was deleteing a user, and told it to remove the users directory. The shared directory was deleted with it...Lucky an older and wiser Sys-admin had a cron-job backup of the directory (just in case)...

Hardware wise, I've lost multiple monitors to game resolution changes. Nothing like a monitoring changing resolution and pop, sizzle, nothing... Has to be my worse fear about monitors that anytime they could die when changing resolution and refresh rate.

Also, Bought a linksys wireless 802.11b/g router, flashed it, poof, dead. Right after the 30 day return policy. Its still sitting on my shelf as I need to mail it in for repair....

Bought a new DVD/VCR combo, tried to use a wet cloth to pull off the damn sticky advertisement on the front, managed to wipe off some of the paint. Some damn strong sticky glue on electronics, how stupid.

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